Against the Grain Brewery’s production facility in the Portland neighborhood is the textbook definition of cavernous. Before the 25,000-square foot building became one of the region’s largest craft brewing facilities it was something of a paintball playground, and the Jackson Pollock splatters on the rafters bear testament to this past.
Located along a half-mile stretch of Northwestern Parkway that’s pinched by I-64 to the south and the Portland Canal to the north, AtG’s warehouse is just enough off the beaten path to make it something of a hidden gem.
Raising their Portland Profile
Now that Against the Grain has been brewing and canning in Portland for three years they’re beginning to make moves toward raising their profile in the neighborhood.
Passersby on the interstate will notice that the flag bearing the Against the Grain logo came down briefly for a total facelift of building over the last few weeks.
Owner Adam Watson points to the business sense of locating their operations in Portland: “We needed a place to house a significantly larger brewery than the one at the pub, and we needed it to be suited to the flow of materials that happens in a larger production brewery. Our actual production capacity is already four times our pub production capacity, and we still have room for much more equipment to boost that capacity significantly. Perhaps even more importantly, we have the space to run our canning line and to keep the product in coolers for packing and shipping. This has allowed us to ship our Kentucky product to 42 states and over 20 countries around the world. Portland has enabled us to take a local brand worldwide.”
Like a lot of other businesses that have begun relocating to the area, Against the Grain’s Watson sees the long-term potential of the neighborhood, pointing to the possibility of utilizing their ample upstairs space as a retail tavern at some point in the future.
With the 22 acres of Waterfront Park Phase IV right on their doorstep, their location on Northwestern Parkway is uniquely positioned to thrive as the city looks more and more west of Ninth Street.
Until then, the hardworking brewers at AtG are just happy to be in the neighborhood, Watson says.
“The biggest way we have gotten involved seems to take the form of neighbors coming by for socializing after work,” he continues. “Once all the machines spin down and the day’s work is done, it’s nice to have a beer with some of the other fine folks down on Northwestern. We aren’t open as a tavern yet, but hanging out with friends is always allowed.”
No Shortage of Square Footage Available
With its history of river transportation and being at an infrastructural crossroads, it only makes sense that a presence in Portland has helped take these beloved local products to markets far and wide. Portland Now Inc.’s newly-elected president, Kerrie Clifford, sees Against the Grain as a model for other businesses.
“To come here with such a successful brand and purchase a building that was being underutilized, we think that’s wonderful,” says Clifford. “It’s exactly what we need more of in our neighborhood. There is certainly no shortage of square footage available, and all of it’s close to the interstate and the urban core. We look forward to seeing ways Against the Grain’s presence in Portland will increase in years to come.”
In a neighborhood that’s consistently at the center of the revitalization buzz, Against the Grain is ahead of the curve when it comes to seeing opportunity and making their vision a productive reality.
Learn more about Against the Grain when Sam Cruz, managing member and visionary of Against the Grain, speaks at Creative Mornings on October 27, 2017, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Louisville Slugger Field (401 East Main St.). For more info visit here.